Thursday, November 16, 2006

Election Report: Greenest Day in American Political History


Greetings:
Last week's elections were a huge victory for the environment. The
following message was sent from the Natural Resources Defense Council
and highlights some of those key victories.

A couple of main points:
* Of the "Dirty Dozen" (the 13 members of Congress targeted by the
League of Conservation Voters for the poorest environmental voting
records), nine were defeated.

* Dozens of candidates -- from both parties -- who ran on
forward-looking energy policies were chosen by voters. At least 20
pro-environment challengers unseated anti-environment incumbents in the
House.

* New leadership has promised aggressive oversight of President Bush's
Interior Department and Forest Service, which have done little but
front for energy and timber companies.

It is a good read and perspective of where the national environmental
policies might go in the next few years. The details are below.

Cheers,
Gerry

Gerry,

You and I have got a lot to celebrate -- finally!

We have fought so unbelievably hard for six long and difficult
years to defend our environment against a House and Senate
leadership that has endeavored -- often on a weekly basis -- to
sacrifice our natural heritage for the sake of Big Oil and other
powerful special interests.

Thanks to your incredible support and tenacious activism, we
have held the line against overwhelming odds. We have fended off
attacks on the Arctic Refuge, on endangered wildlife, on clean
air and clean water -- in the undying hope that, one day, the
political landscape would have to change.

And did it ever change last Tuesday! In one fell swoop, the
American voter terminated the Congressional onslaught against
nature and gave us new leaders who share our deepest values of
environmental protection.

And while Iraq and corruption were the big issues, don't let
anyone tell you the environment didn't play a role in this
election. The billion-dollar handouts to Big Oil . . . the
energy policies written by polluters . . . the fanatic denial of
global warming science -- these were all part and parcel of the
corruption and out-of-touch ideology that Americans had grown
sick and tired of.

If you need more proof, consider this: of the "Dirty Dozen" (the
13 members of Congress targeted by the League of Conservation
Voters for the poorest environmental voting records), nine were
defeated.

On the flip side, eight out of nine of the League's
"Environmental Champions" won their races. Dozens of candidates
-- from both parties -- who ran on forward-looking energy
policies were chosen by voters. At least 20 pro-environment
challengers unseated anti-environment incumbents in the House.
And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won strong voter support by
signing a Global Warming Solutions Act.

Last Tuesday may well go down as one of the greenest days in
American political history.

The people have spoken. They've had it with corporate cronyism
and the failed policies of nineteenth century oil barons. They
want a clean energy economy that will break our dependence on
oil, slow global warming, spare our natural heritage from
destruction and create millions of new high-tech jobs.

And NRDC is laying the groundwork for turning that vision into a
bipartisan political reality come January 3rd. We'll be working
in a Congressional landscape that is profoundly changed. The new
House and Senate majority leaders are committed to many of the
policy objectives that NRDC has advocated for years.

Speaker-elect Pelosi has promised that she'll start tackling the
energy issue in her first 100 hours in office!

And you won't be seeing the same old Congressional attacks on
our wildlife refuges, national forests and clean air. In fact,
the new leadership has promised aggressive oversight of
President Bush's Interior Department and Forest Service, which
have done little but front for energy and timber companies.
Oversight, imagine that!

Now, I don't want you to think we've lost our perspective in the
afterglow of Election Day. We know what the realities are. We
know we've got our work cut out for us.

For starters, this Congress will be as besieged by special
interests as any other. It's no accident that candidates promise
us the moon but often deliver far less. Getting environmental
legislation passed will mean reaching out to both sides of the
aisle and outworking the polluting interests that will oppose us
at every step of the way.

We won't have to wait long for our first test. The current
Congress is not gone yet, and a lame duck session in December
could do a lifetime of environmental damage. Friends of Big Oil
in both parties may unite and try to pass a bill that opens
protected coastal areas to drilling.

NRDC will be turning up the pressure on ALL members of Congress.
That's where you come in. In the end, you're the only ones who
can prevail on Senators and Representatives to vote their
environmental commitments. You'll be hearing from me soon to
make your voice heard.

As for President Bush, his Administration has not even paused
this month in its drive to dismantle our environmental
safeguards. So NRDC must continue to fight in the federal
courts, which have repeatedly rejected this Administration's
pro-polluter policies.

In the weeks ahead, I will be reporting to you in more detail on
NRDC's plan for advancing our environmental agenda in the next
session of Congress.

But I can share one key element of that plan right now: You.
Since this Congress came to power, you've helped NRDC defend the
environment against the most withering attack in modern American
history. And now that we're going on the offensive, we'll need
you more than ever.

We need your idealism. We need your activism. We need your
support. If we have all of those, we are going to do great
things for the environment over the next months and years.

Sincerely,

Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

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